Source: Family announcements

Marriage announcement of H.J. Kastein and E.J.E. de Monye

In the Netherlands, there has never been a tradition of writing biographical obituaries like you see in countries like the United States. Instead, "familieberichten" [family announcements] simply announce the death of a person. In the 19th century, only more affluent people had a familiebericht placed in the paper. It was usually very short and … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Weeskamer

Ordinance of the Goes Orphan Chamber

A weeskamer is the orphan chamber, a government body responsible for overseeing the administration of the estates of (half) orphans. Weeskamers should not be confused with orphanages: they did not take care of the orphans, just the administration of the estates. Weeskamers existed in most parts of the Netherlands until 1810. After 1810, their … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Bruid

Etch of an older man holding a woman's had

A bruid is a bride. Most women married for the first time in their mid to late twenties. If you see a woman who got married before the age of twenty, you will often find one of these circumstances to be the case: The bride is pregnant The bride is an orphan The groom is a widower with young children and the bride is his former maid. Of … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Oogstmaand

August. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Oogstmaand literally means "harvest month" and is the old word for August. … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Trekschuit

Two people in harness drawing a barge

Trekschuit literally means "pull barge" and is a low-bottomed ship that was dragged along canals and rivers. In the waterlogged country that is The Netherlands, trekschuiten were one of the main forms of transportation for people and goods over longer distances, as roads were often so muddy that they were useless for most of the year. Most … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Toegang

woman holding a looking glass

The Dutch word toegang literally means "access" or "entrance." In archival jargon, it means a finding aid that describes the content of a record group. For example, you can have a toegang on the records of the Dutch East India Company. Another word for toegang is inventaris. In source citations or search forms, you can encounter the word toegang … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Vondeling

Marriage record of Johan Jacob Tanto and Johanna Frederiks, Enkhuizen, 23 March 1817

A vondeling is a foundling, an abandoned child whose parents are unknown. It was rare for children to be abandoned. Most cases where children were abandoned took place in the city, not in the countryside. Most abandoned children were raised in orphanages or were placed in a home while the city poor relief paid for their … [Read more...]

Dutch term – Hooimaand

July. Image credits: Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Hooimaand (literally: hay month) is the old word for July. … [Read more...]

Dutch term: Neef en Nicht

Group of cousins, all grandchildren of Cornelis Trouw and Maria Gommeren

A neef is a male relative: either a first cousin or a nephew. A nicht is a female relative: either a first cousin or a niece. Like the word 'cousin' in English, the words 'neef' and 'nicht' are sometimes used to describe a more distant relationship. Someone who is referred to as a 'neef,' may turn out to be the husband of a first cousin once … [Read more...]

Dutch term – familiewapen

Coat of arms of King Willem-Alexander

A familiewapen is a family crest or coat of arms. Most people in the Netherlands did not have a coat of arms. People who used them were usually members of the nobility or other members of the upper class. Working class families did not have a use for a crest. There are several heraldic databases and collections that will tell you whether a coat … [Read more...]